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Four trends on the Gartner, Inc. Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence, 2021 are driving near-term artificial intelligence (AI) innovation. These trends include responsible AI; small and wide data approaches; operationalization of AI platforms; and efficient use of data, model and compute resources.

Gartner senior principal research analyst Shubhangi Vashisth said AI innovation is happening at a rapid pace, with an above-average number of technologies on the Hype Cycle reaching mainstream adoption within two to five years.

“Innovations including edge AI, computer vision, decision intelligence and machine learning are all poised to have a transformational impact on the market in coming years,” said Shubhangi Vashisth.

The AI market remains in an evolutionary state, with a high percentage of AI innovations appearing on the upward-sloping Innovation Trigger (see Figure 1). This indicates a market trend of end users seeking specific technology capabilities that are often beyond the capabilities of current AI tools.

Figure 1: Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence, 2021

Here are the four trends that are driving AI innovation, according to Gartner:

Responsible AI

Gartner research vice president Svetlana Sicular said increased trust, transparency, fairness and auditability of AI technologies continues to be of growing importance to a wide range of stakeholders.

“Responsible AI helps achieve fairness, even though biases are baked into the data; gain trust, although transparency and explainability methods are evolving; and ensure regulatory compliance, while grappling with AI’s probabilistic nature,” said Svetlana Sicular.

In fact, Gartner expects that by 2023, all personnel hired for AI development and training work will have to demonstrate expertise in responsible AI.

Small and Wide Data

Data forms the foundation of successful AI initiatives. Small and wide data approaches enable more robust analytics and AI, reduce organisations’ dependency on big data, and deliver richer, more complete situational awareness.

According to Gartner, by 2025, 70% of organizations will be compelled to shift their focus from big to small and wide data, providing more context for analytics and making AI less data hungry.

Svetlana Sicular said small data is about the application of analytical techniques that require less data but still offer useful insights, while wide data enables the analysis and synergy of a variety of data sources.

“Together, these approaches enable more robust analytics and help attain a more 360-degree view of business problems,” said Svetlana Sicular.

Operationalisation of AI Platforms

The urgency and criticality of leveraging AI for business transformation is driving the need for operationalization of AI platforms. This means moving AI projects from concept to production, so that AI solutions can be relied upon to solve enterprise-wide problems.

Svetlana Sicular said Gartner research has found that only half of AI projects make it from pilot into production, and those that do take an average of nine months to do so.

“Innovations such as AI orchestration and automation platforms (AIOAPs) and model operationalization (ModelOps) are enabling reusability, scalability and governance, accelerating AI adoption and growth,” said Svetlana Sicular.

Efficient Use of Resources

Given the complexity and scale of the data, models and compute resources involved in AI deployments, AI innovation requires such resources to be used at maximum efficiency. Multiexperience, composite AI, generative AI and transformers are gaining visibility in the AI market for their ability to solve a wide range of business problems in a more efficient manner.

Gartner clients can read more in the report “Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence, 2021.” This research is part of the Gartner Special Report “2021 Hype Cycles: Innovating Delivery Through Trust, Growth and Change.” The 2021 Gartner Hype Cycles help organizations to make innovation a core competency and shape and prioritize their approach to innovation delivery.

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